So complete is the submission of Roman Catholics to their priests, that such a thing as a Roman Catholic congregation asserting any rights, is almost unheard of. But contact with freemen and the exercise of liberty on other subjects is having an effect, and the indications are that the church of Rome must ere long bend or break under the weight of this influence. She will undoubtedly do both, bend a little first then break and lose her power over her faithful as her daughters are doing.
"A movement of unusual character has taken place in the large and wealthy Roman Catholic parish of St. Mary's, at Aurora, Ill. Some time ago the parish revolted against the Rev. Father Welby, its pastor, giving as a reason the fact that the priest would not permit the congregation to superintend its own financial affairs, but collected all the money and spent it at his own pleasure, without so much as making a report to those who contributed. At that time the congregation appealed to the Archbishop to remove Father Welby and replace him by a pastor who would accept a stipulated salary, "as other preachers do," and permit the congregation to manage its own affairs. The Archbishop referred the matter to the Vicar General, and that gentleman visited this city and from the pulpit soundly berated the congregation as a lot of ignoramuses and concluded by saying that Father Welby would be kept here until the congregation bowed in submission to his authority. The Vicar General subsequently said in Chicago that Father Welby would be kept in Aurora until the congregation accepted his word as law, if it took until his dying day. Notwithstanding these promises Father Welby was removed from Aurora in two weeks and the congregation was left for a time without a priest. Last Sunday, Father Leyden, of Woodstock, occupied the pulpit and announced his intention to control, not only the spiritual but the temporal affairs of the church. The result of this announcement was a meeting of the congregation at which a more compact organization was effected, and a resolution unanimously adopted by a rising vote, asserting the right of the congregation to control its own temporal affairs, and demanding that Father Leyden either accept a stipulated salary, or withdraw from the pastorate. The case is attracting unusual attention.